Howard Brown Health is now providing access to medical forensic exams and evidence collection for survivors of sexual assault on the North and South sides of Chicago through its In Power program.
Together with local rape-crisis centers Resilience and Mujeres Latinas en Accion, the In Power Department will ensure that survivors receive the comprehensive healthcare and follow-up service options needed to support survivors in the aftermath of sexual violence.
In response to COVID-19 and its impact on accessing medical treatment in hospital emergency rooms, Howard Brownalong with Resilience, the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Assault and the Cook County States Attorney Officeadvocated for necessary amendments to the Sexual Assault Emergency Treatment Act. The changes were needed to increase access to medical care for survivors outside of an emergency room setting. Previously, the only entities empowered to perform medical forensic exams for sexual assault have been hospitals, whose resources were diverted to emergency treatment and care in the face of the pandemic.
Last June, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed SB 577, an amendment to the Sexual Assault Survivors Emergency Treatment Act (SASETA) allowing federally qualified health centers like Howard Brown to perform medical forensic exams during a governor-declared state of public health emergency and 90 days after the end of the declaration, currently slated to conclude June 1, 2021.
In Power recently expanded capacity to support for sexual-assault survivors, including medical services, medical and legal advocacy, and behavioral health services. For a full list of In Power services and locations, visit howardbrown.org/inpower .